Department of Mechanical Engineering
With the emergence of Additive Manufacturing (AM), engineers now have an entirely new manufacturing process to consider when developing a new product or redesigning an existing part. Engineers who are well versed in traditional manufacturing techniques will realize that AM is completely different and will need to learn how to properly design for additive manufacturing (DfAM).
The Design Innovation Team researched scholarly articles to find basic principles about AM and building 3D printed objects. The team also directly observed the Lockheed Martin group as they created and successfully printed original 3D designs for the satellite bracket to gain further insight and information. This was done to uncover both design and AM principles that directly relate to the entire additive manufacturing process. These principles were combined with a general design methodology from the U.K. Design Council, called the 4D’s, to create a novel design framework to help engineers with DfAM.
The Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver (4D) process focuses on user centered design work that spurs innovative and creative designing. The Discover phase gathers information through direct contact with stakeholders and users. The Define phase analyzes the information to find root needs for the project through modeling methods. The Develop phase uses creative methods to identify numerous solutions for the project and the Delver phase focuses on prototyping the best solution and create a final product for testing and evaluation. The framework serves as a guide for the entire design process and contains information disseminated through documents, learning modules, and videos. The framework is self-contained and utilizes Mind Manager software that is easy to follow and navigate. The user is able to quickly view and access all of the topics and information. The framework is also successful at giving an engineer, who is familiar with currently used computer aided design (CAD) software, the means to create designs that can be successfully built on a direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) additive manufacturing machine. The framework is especially helpful in offering a design team a methodology that guides them through all phases of the design process. This framework can be applied to many different types of projects and offers engineers specific information and guidance about designing for additive manufacturing.